Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:21 (NIV)
Don’t be overcome by evil. What does that mean? That is a better question than you realize. Why is that? How might you be overcome by evil? I’m not sure. Think deeply about that question. I might be overcome by evil by my reaction to it. You are on the right track. You don’t want me to respond to evil with my own evil actions. That is not how you responded to evil. No, it is not. You did not let evil define your identity. You did not let evil develop your thoughts. You did not let evil dictate your words. You did not let evil guide your actions. Evil had no power or authority over any of your thoughts, words or deeds. That’s right.
You want me to become like you. That’s true. You want me to respond to evil just as you responded to evil. You have set an example before me of how I can and should respond to evil. If I let evil define my identity, develop my thoughts, dictate my words or guide my actions I will be allowing myself to be overcome by evil. What’s is the harm of being overcome by evil? If I allow myself to be overcome by evil, I will not be able to be a witness for you is this world. I will think and speak and act like everyone else in the world. I will not shine brightly in the world for you. I will not bear fruit for your kingdom or bring glory to your name. I will be a vessel that you cannot use. So, there is tremendous harm in my allowing myself to be overcome by evil. You got that right.
You won’t be able to simply resist being overcome by evil with your own efforts. That will not be an effective strategy for you. How should I respond to evil? That is another very good question. You must overcome evil by doing the good I will give you to do. When you are tempted to respond to evil with evil, do the good I will give you to do instead. Like what? The good that you will do in response to evil will depend on the person, place, time and circumstance. When you are wondering how to respond to a specific evil, ask for my help. Ask me to give you wisdom to wisely respond to evil with the good that I want you to do for me. Will you ask for my wisdom? Will you do the good that I ask you to do for me? Yes Lord, I will. Then you will not be overcome by evil. Then you will shine brightly in the world for me.
Lord, help me to have a radically different attitude about evil. Protect me from responding to evil with my own evil actions. Help me to continually do good so I will be able to powerfully overcome evil. Use me as a bright and shinning witness for you in the world. Amen
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